Thursday, February 02, 2017

NBC Mid-Season Pilot Review: Powerless - Premieres Tonight (Feb. 2); COZI TV's We Love TV Valentine's Day Stunt


Powerless

Powerless - Thursdays at 8:30PM ET/PT on NBC
Premieres Thursday, February 2, 2017 at 8:30PM ET/PT


by Pavan

Get ready for the first comedy series set in the DC universe! In a world where humanity must cope with the collateral damage of Super Heroes and Super-Villains, Emily Locke (Vanessa Hudgens) begins her first day as Director of Research & Development for Wayne Security, a subsidiary of Wayne Enterprises that specializes in products that make defenseless bystanders feel a little safer. Full of confidence and big ideas, Emily quickly learns that her expectations far exceed those of her new boss (Alan Tudyk) and officemates, so it will be up to her to lead the team toward their full potential and the realization that you don’t need superpowers to be a hero. It's a superhero's world. We just live in it.

Cast Details:

Vanessa Hudgens as Emily Locke
Danny Pudi as Teddy
Christina Kirk as Jackie
Ron Funches as Ron
Alan Tudyk as Van Wayne

Vanessa Hudgens (Emily) is best known for Disney Channel's breakaway sensation High School Musical that garnered Hudgens much praise and attention. With critics and fans clamoring for more, she was also seen in the film's highly successful follow-ups: High School Musical 2 and the theatrical release of High School Musical 3: Senior Year. Hudgens followed up her High School Musical hits by starring in the critically acclaimed Bandslam as well Beastly and Journey 2: The Mysterious Island. In 2010, Hudgens won the ShoWest Award for Female Star of Tomorrow. Looking to branch out and take on some darker roles, Hudgens appeared in a series of films that have surprised audiences, including Frozen Ground, directed by Scott Walker. Hudgens portrayed the real-life victim who helped solve the case of a serial murderer in Alaska. She starred opposite James Franco, Ashley Benson and Selena Gomez in 2012's Spring Breakers which was written and directed Harmony Korine and screened at the Venice and Toronto film festivals. In the drama Gimme Shelter, directed by Ron Krauss, Hudgens plays a pregnant, homeless teenager. For this film, which was based on a true story, she spent two weeks living in a homeless shelter doing research for her character. Last year Hudgens made her Broadway debut as the title role in the beloved stage musical Gigi. Most recently, Hudgens had audiences and critics praising her performance as Rizo in the Fox production of Grease Live.

Danny Pudi (Teddy) has quickly established himself as a highly sought after actor in film and television. He is best known for his breakout role as Abed in the critically acclaimed comedy series Community that aired on NBC and Yahoo! Abed, a favorite of fans and TV critics alike, earned Pudi a Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series nomination at both the 2012-13 Critics' Choice Awards. Pudi will soon be lending his voice to Smurfs: The Lost Village, out on April 7, alongside Joe Manganiello, Mandy Patinkin, Demi Lovato and Jack McBrayer. He will also soon be seen starring opposite Neal Bledsoe the independent drama After the Sun Fell. Pudi's additional television credits include recurring roles on hit dramas Greek and Gilmore Girls and guest-starring roles on Better Things, Angie Tribeca, Dr. Ken, Royal Pains, Hot in Cleveland, Chuck and ER.

Christina Kirk (Jackie) has appeared on some of the most highly acclaimed shows, including The Newsroom, Girls, The Good Wife, Law & Order and cult hits Delocated and Children's Hospital. More recently she starred in the NBC comedy A to Z as well as WGN's Manhattan.

Ron Funches (Ron) has amassed a growing resume of television credits. He recently starred as Shelly on NBC's Undateable and has been seen on Transparent, New Girl, Conan, The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon and several shows on Comedy Central, including Drunk History, The Kroll Show, his own half hour special, Comedy Central Presents Ron Funches and John Oliver's New York Stand-Up Show.

Alan Tudyk (Van Wayne) recently appeared in Lucasfilm's Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, as well as a voiceover in Disney's animated feature Moana. He can also be heard as Ludo and King Butterfly on the Disney Channel series Star vs. the Forces of Evil, which has its second season premiere set for July. In television, Tudyk was a series regular on the critically acclaimed ABC comedy, Suburgatory and he reprised his role in the Netflix revival of Arrested Development as Pastor Veal. His work on Joss Whedon's Firefly has been highly lauded by fans and has gained him a strong cult following. Tudyk also appeared in Strangers with Candy, Dollhouse, Frasier and Justified. He also was the host of Newsreaders, written and produced by Rob Corddry and David Wain, on Adult Swim.

Pilot Plot:

"Wayne or Lose" (airs Thursday, February 2 at 8:30PM ET/PT)

In a world where humanity must cope with the collateral damage of Super Heroes and Super-Villains, Emily Locke (Vanessa Hudgens) begins her first day as Director of Research & Development for Wayne Security, a subsidiary of Wayne Enterprises that specializes in products that make defenseless bystanders feel a little safer. Full of confidence and big ideas, Emily quickly learns that her expectations far exceed those of her new boss Van Wayne (Alan Tudyk) and officemates, so it will be up to her to lead the team toward their full potential and the realization that you don't need superpowers to be a hero.

Analysis:

Vanessa Hudgens joining a television series for the first time is a good idea. She has star power and appeal. She really isn't known much for her comedy chops, but she plays it well in the premiere episode. The setting for this comedy is very unique. It's a comedy set in the DC Universe, with superheroes and villains around. We have Van Wayne, who is Bruce Wayne's cousin, running Wayne Security in Charm City. Not quite Gotham City, but it'll do. The pilot focuses on the new hire, Emily Locke, as she begins her first day as director of R&D. This comedy doesn't focus on the superheroes and villains, but it focuses on the people who are affected by them. I don't think we will see Bruce Wayne, or Batman, Superman, or whoever in the DC Universe, but that is OK, as it focuses on the people who have to deal with them. This is a workplace comedy, and NBC has done well with those in recent years of course, like with The Office, Parks & Recreation and more recently, Superstore.

It's a unique and fun show, but I am not sure how it can keep it up. It needs more laughs to be a comedy. Right now it is interesting and quirky, but it needs to expand on that. Is NBC trying to appeal to the superhero audience or a broad comedy audience? I'm not sure yet, as it is too early to tell. Character development will be the key to its success as well. The series only has 5 regulars and the pilot did a good job maybe showcasing only 2 or 3 of them. We have of course Emily Locke, the new Director of Research & Development at Wayne Security as the core of the series. Then we have Van Wayne, the head of Wayne Security and the black sheep of the Wayne family. We also have Teddy, the Chief Design Officer at Wayne Security. Then we have Jackie, Van Wayne's beleaguered and long-suffering executive assistant. And finally, we have Ron, the Chief Engineer at Wayne Security. After watching the premiere, you probably can identify only 2 or 3 of these characters in what they do.

Conclusion:

It could be a tough road for this comedy. Not because it is a bad show, it's because there are still a lot of question marks. Will it be funnier? Will the characters besides Emily and Van be noticed? Danny Pudi is underused so far. One thing that is certain is that Vanessa Hudgens has proved her star status in this premiere episode and she can carry this show with no problem. Let's just hope it gets funnier and less quirkier. Or it will have a tough time gaining a mass audience. But perhaps NBC will be happy with the lead-in's audience profile (small, but loyal audience for Superstore). Another thing is that NBC has already picked-up a second season of The Good Place, so Powerless needs to at least match the numbers of that series to have a chance for season two. But right now let's focus on this season and hope that the future episodes answer all my questions in a good way because this is a unique comedy that needs to be seen. Batman isn't needed to help this show because the everyday normal people are funny enough! Who needs superpowers when you're powerless?

Final Numbers (out of 5 stars):

Watchability: 4/5
Funniness: 3/5
Overall: 3.5/5

Discuss the show after you watch it on Thursday, February 2, 2017 at 8:30PM ET/PT on our message board.

Related Links:

  • NBC Official Site
  • TV.com
  • epguides.com
  • Internet Movie Database
  • Wikipedia
  • Powerless Photo Gallery

    Preview:






  • COZI TV

    It's all about love this Valentine's Day on COZI TV. Your first true love, the love that made you laugh and cry - and yes, that love which went terribly wrong. On February 14, COZI TV is celebrating these and all affairs of the heart with a special, Valentine's Day-themed "We Love TV" marathon, starting at 12 PM ET (check local listings). The "We Love TV" marathon is an 11-hour love story for the ages, featuring small screen favorites such as Murder She Wrote, Rockford Files, Emergency!, Quincy ME, Little House, The Munsters, The A-Team, Miami Vice and Frasier. The marathon shows romance at its best and worst with storylines consisting of fairytale endings, regretful romances and many others.


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    Tuesday, June 25

    • Kumail Nanjiani (Silicon Valley) - Catch Kumail on a repeat of Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
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